Concern at scale of potential sites for new housing

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Fears have been raised that large swathes of greenbelt land in North Tyneside could be lost to developers.

Areas of brownfield and greenfield land in the borough have been included on a list of sites for potential houses and other developments as part of North Tyneside Council’s new draft Local Plan.

The plan, approved by full council last week, is due to go out for a full consultation next month once it receives the green light from cabinet members.

But Conservative councillors have hit out at the scale of the potential land sale.

One of the biggest sections of greenfields earmarked is around Murton village, with the land in question stretching from Rake Lane in North Shields to Shiremoor and across to West Monkseaton.

Conservative group leader Coun Judith Wallace has called for the local authority to remove the Murton sites, which has been broken up into seven sections, as the proposed plan is completely unbalanced.

She said: “This plan is very worrying. It shows that many thousands of houses could be put on these greenfield sites at the coast.

“The sites, which the Labour mayor and councillors want to include as potential areas for developmentm are heavily biased towards the Murton area – four times more land is included here in comparison with anywhere else in the borough.

“In addition to losing the green fields, development of this massive scale will create problems with traffic congestion and pressure on schools.”

Conservative councillors have also hit out at the timing of the consultation, which begins in November and will run into the Christmas period.

But Mayor Norma Redfearn hit back, saying it was just a consultation process and nothing had been approved about what land would be put up for sale.

She said: “We have to bring forward a Local Plan, which the Conservatives have never finished.

“I asked the Overview and Scrutiny committee to identify plots across the borough of land that was available, either brownfield or greenfield, that we could use to bring in houses.

“We have identified areas right across the borough. There must be around 100 potential sites. We want to build more houses but have to identify where.

“Nothing has been agreed as to where we are going to build as it will now go out to consultation for every resident to have their say.”